October 10, 2007
At first glance, Christoph Girardet and Matthius Müller's terse and ingeniously conceived Hide unfolds with the tactile eroticism and wry humor of Peter Kubelka's irreverent life cycle meditation on "transcendence through product consumption" in Truth and Poetry. Composed of densely atmospheric and highly stylized recycled commercial footage of young, picture perfect models pleasurably applying personal hygiene and cosmetic products in a quick cut montage of disembodied, glistening skins, hairs, hands, and lips, juxtaposed against the sensual application of assorted foams, lotions, waxes, and creams, these carefully constructed, plastic images begin to fade, speckle, crack, distort, and burn with the material deterioration of the celluloid itself, before being reduced to the stark whiteness - and unadulterated purity - of an empty projection. At once idealized and grotesque, the disintegrating images become an integral reflection of the title's double entendre of hide as both an organic surface that inherently decays with time, and the deliberate act of concealing its irreversible plasticity. Using the materiality of film as a surrogate for the materiality of the human body, Girardet and Müller create a droll metaphor for the vain pursuit of consumer-driven eternal youth.